Gold prices edged down while the US dollar continued strong on the black market, with jewellers reporting weak sales on Feb. 8 the first day back from the Tet (lunar new year) holiday.

Major gold dealers in Hanoi and HCM City, including Sai Gon Jewelry Co, Sacombank Jewelry Co, Bao Tin Minh Chau, Agribank Jewelry Co, and Phu Nhuan Jewelry Co. all quoted buy/sell prices of 35.55-35.95 million VND (1,653-1,672 USD) per tael, down 130,000 VND per tael from the last day of trading before Tet. (One tael is equivalent to 1.2 ounces.)

The domestic gold price has now increased by a cumulative 30 percent in the past 13 months.

Global prices were up 1.44 USD to 1,351.90 USD an ounce on Feb. 8, with the unrest in Egypt scaring off some buyers but a strong rupee igniting purchases by main consumer India ahead of its wedding season.

Current gold prices remained well below the all-time high they set in December of around 1,430 USD an ounce.

The US dollar, meanwhile, continued to climb in value on the unofficial market on Feb. 8 to about 21,400-21,500 VND, up 320 VND against the previous week, with trading remaining quiet. The official exchange rate remained at 18,932 VND, while commercial banks continued to quote a nominal sell price of 19,500 VND./.